ByApril 19, 2016 No Comments

The Wharton School is a collegiate business school spread out across the world with locations such as Philadelphia, San Francisco, Singapore and France. We are seeing more and more schools, universities and places of learning on Instagram of late, and we thought it would be educational (appropriately!) for everyone to find out a little bit more about how a school comes to be on social media, in particular Instagram, and how they make it work for them.

Here are some key facts about @whartonschool:

  • Followers: 11.8k
  • Engagement rate: 2.77%
  • Average posting frequency: 3 media/week

We were delighted that The Wharton School accepted to answer our questions about their Instagram. We spoke to Lara Williamson, Visual Content Coordinator for The Wharton School, who has been managing the @whartonschool Instagram account since its infancy. Lara is responsible for growing the account from 100 to over 11.5k followers, so she certainly knows this account inside out! Here is the interview – enjoy!

#1 – @whartonschool posted its first Instagram picture on the 14th November 2012. What were your motivations back then? Why did you choose to join Instagram?

We joined Instagram in 2012 mainly to secure the user name. We posted infrequently for a year before building a dedicated team to revive the account with a defined strategy.

#2 – How relevant is Instagram for The Wharton School? What benefits has it brought you?

The platform is relevant in several ways. First and foremost, it has helped drive engagement between students, alumni, and the school, and fostered a community of users with an interest in Wharton. It has also helped our staff identify strong photographers and opportunities for student takeovers, which adds diverse perspectives and authenticity to our account.

Through Instagram we’re also able to track the student experience, not just on our Philadelphia and San Francisco campuses but the many events, treks, and immersion programs our students participate in world-wide. It’s also a great way to connect with our students around important milestones, such as getting accepted to the school, matriculating, completing a semester, or graduating. Increasingly we’ve been able to gauge our account’s reach and influence on prospective students during the consideration process, such as their posts during a campus visit or written references to our Instagram account in their applications. That’s both valuable and validating.

#3 – What are your main Instagram goals at this point in time? (In terms of reach and growth)

We certainly pay close attention to our overall growth rate and relative reach and engagement to our peer institutions, and consider ourselves a leader in our category. That said, our main priority is to remain relevant to our followers, especially now that an algorithm is being introduced on the platform. This means engaging with the popular trends, posts, and locations related to our brand, as well as staying on top of the content strategy of the brands our followers follow. If we do that, and remain active in the space, we’ll continue to see smart growth and sustain our high levels of engagement.

#4 – What are your thoughts on videos for Instagram? Are they something you use a lot?

Videos are great for mixing up the content on our feed. For example, we’ve enjoyed experimenting with cinemagraph’s and video apps like Boomerang, Hyperlapse and Flipagram. Here’s an example of a cinemagraph we created for the 4th of July (see below). We have ideas for adding more video this year, and are already considering ways to take advantage of the full 60 seconds that Instagram now allows for!

Happy 4th of July!

A video posted by The Wharton School (@whartonschool) on

#5 – Do you use any particular strategies to attract new Instagram followers and keep them engaged?

We regularly share our Instagram posts on our Facebook news feed, and occasionally tweet our photos to drive awareness and new followers of our account. We’ve also had some success with student activations, and annual photo contests that help transfer knowledge of our account and our frequently used hashtags to new students. But, as mentioned earlier, our strategy is to attract new followers organically. We attribute our high engagement rate to the fact that we’ve never paid for our followers. Posting creative, visually appealing content has kept our followers engaged.

#6 – What are the features you like most on Iconosquare?

The Optimization “best time to post” feature is a great tool for determining when our followers are active on Instagram. We notice much higher engagement rates when we post content according to these optimal times. We’re also a fan of the Hashtag Performance Reports. They have been instrumental in tracking the hashtags associated with our brand.

#7 – What would you like to see on Instagram in the future?

Staying engaged with our Instagram followers is a priority of ours. In the future, it would be great to be able to track not only when we’re tagged in a photo, but when our account is @ mentioned in a comment.

#8 – What are the most inspiring brands/accounts on Instagram?

We’re inspired by what so many of our alumni are doing. Some of our favorite alumni Instagram accounts include: Warby Parker @warbyparker, Cotopaxi @cotopaxi, Hoodie Allen @hoodieallen and of course University of Pennsylvania @uofpenn

#9 – Work aside, what are the 3 Instagram accounts you recommend following?

We can’t get enough of Philadelphia and San Francisco! We recommend following @visitphilly, @igers_philly and @sanfrancisco.city

A photo posted by Visit Philly (@visitphilly) on


A final word?
Follow @whartonschool on Instagram!

You heard the lady!

Emily Lydon

Author Emily Lydon

Emily is an Inbound Marketer for Iconosquare, based in the Limoges office. She loves all things social and revels in keeping on top of the social media marketing game by writing for the blog. She’s also a bit obsessed with sushi, gin and Netflix.

More posts by Emily Lydon

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